How to Design Programs: An Introduction to Computing and Programming
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Section 1
Students, Teachers, and Computers
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Getting Started
We learn to compute at a young age. At first we just add and subtract numbers.
One plus one equals two. Five minus two is three.
As we grow older we learn about additional mathematical operations, like exponentiation and sine, but
we also learn to describe rules of computation.
Given a circle of radius
r
, its circumference is
r
times two times
pi
. A minimumwage
laborer who works for
N
hours earns
N
times 5.35 dollars.
The truth is, our teachers turn us into computers and program us to execute simple computer programs.
So, the secret is out. Computer programs are just very fast students. They can perform millions of
additions while we might still be struggling with the first one. But computer programs can do more than
just manipulate numbers. They can guide an airplane. They can play games. They can look up a person's
phone number. They can print the payroll checks for huge corporations. In short, computers process all
kinds of information.
People state information and instructions in English.
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 Spring '07
 Fisler

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